Govt Not Doing Enough to Upscale Wheat Production- Nigerian Wheat Farmers

The Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria has decried the level to which uninspiring government policies have impeded the improvement of the wheat production sector.

National President of the association, Alhaji Salim Mohammed in a webinar conversation with agriculture journalists, expressed displeasure towards the government’s attitude to wheat production.

He referred to wheat as a “political crop”, noting that the crop has been politicised by the government. He noted that despite the association’s efforts and determination to improve the sub-sector, not much has been achieved.

“If I can tell you in my understanding, maybe the government is only interested in promoting rice production in Nigeria as the only commodity they feel can feed the nation. But if you look at the rate of consumption per capital, we consume wheat more than we consume rice in this country. Sadly, there is no much attention on the subsector in the country and we have over 650,000 hectares where we can cultivate wheat in dry season”, he said.

Speaking on this year’s estimated output, the President noted that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect it, adding that the harvesting calendar was not followed judiciously. According to him, the pandemic would affect 30% to 35% of the expected output.

Mohammed further emphasised the need for synergy among the agricultural stakeholders in the country. He said that there is a need to have a discussion between the government and the farmers, to achieve the much needed synergy in terms of determining the challenges faced by them as well as mapping out strategies for improvement.

The repayment plan for the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, according to the farmers, is another challenge being experienced by them.

“Let me give you a typical example with the CBN ABP, you give a farmer loan and you ask him to repay the loan within a period of six months. Assuming I received a loan of N250,000 , I put it into farming and I get a profit of N20,000 or N30,000 or maximum of N40,000 out of that production circle, how do you expect me as a farmer, to pay back that loan within the shortest possible time I have?

“So if the CBN can sit down with the association and the financial institutions, we can redesign a concept and say okay, each association can take a loan of so and so amount for so and so number of farmers and the loan should be repaid after two or three years so that it can be revolving. Through that system, once a farmer concludes his farming and pays back the loan, you give him another one at the right time, definitely in two or three harvests, he will get what he is supposed to have as a farmer”, he suggested.



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